Do you have complete control over all your company’s data? If you rely on software from one of the major software development firms, you may not have as much control as you think.
There was a time when business enterprise software was cumbersome, expensive, and difficult to administer internally. Most businesses had no choice but to rely on a major firm to develop and manage their software needs, and many of these conglomerates took advantage of their development power in order to maintain control over their customers’ most valuable asset: their data.
But these behemoth firms are no longer the only game in town. There are now smaller firms across the industry who have surpassed these major firms in development capabilities, and businesses no longer need to feel as if their data is being held hostage by their software vendors.
If you’re concerned about how much control you have over your own data, here are four questions you can ask yourself to help assess the quality of your current software development partnership:
- Who has administrative access? It’s amazing how many companies wouldn’t be able to access their own computer databases without permission from their software development firm. If you’re unsure about who has access to your data, ask! Contact the company you work with, ask them to clarify all administrative access privileges, and see how they respond. If they’re hesitant to give up control of your data, make sure they have a valid reason for doing so.
- Is your software built around your business, or the other way around? Your business processes and operations are unique, and the software you use should be tailored to them. Does your current software development firm listen to input and tailor the platforms to your specific needs, or are you basing your operations around the platforms they provide? If you want your data to work effectively for you, you need software designed for you.
- Are all my software issues being addressed, or just the “big-ticket” items? Many of the major development firms have a history of “nickel-and-diming” their customers on smaller software issues, making it cost prohibitive to address them. Try this: sit down with your internal IT team and make a list of all the minor issues you’ve put off fixing due to high troubleshooting costs. If the list turns out to be larger than you thought, it’s a telltale sign that your developer is taking advantage of you.
- Does my software development firm provide big results, or just a big name? Value your development firm on the quality of their work, not on their name recognition. If your current software isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to poke around and explore other options. Many smaller firms will offer free consultations to “look under the hood” and assess what improvements might be made. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.